The world's greatest driving event
Launched by former Formula 1 racer Jonathan Palmer in 1991, PalmerSport continues to retain its reputation as the world’s greatest driving event: a motorsport experience like no other.
PalmerSport guests spend a full day driving an unrivalled collection of high-performance sports cars, touring cars and open-top racing cars on four purpose-built circuits at Bedford Autodrome. And unlike lesser driving events, PalmerSport encourages its guests to push right to the limit on every circuit, in every car.
With more spacious run-off areas than conventional motor racing venues, these bespoke circuits allow participants the freedom to drive harder and faster than anywhere else in the world, with outstanding safety.
PalmerSport offers a heart-stopping, exhilarating and unforgettable day, whether you join us as an individual with family or friends, or as part of a corporate group.
Jonathan Palmer is Chief Executive of the MSV Group which, in addition to Bedford Autodrome and PalmerSport, operates the Brands Hatch, Donington Park, Cadwell Park, Oulton Park and Snetterton race circuits. It also now runs Circuito de Navarra in Spain. MSV's businesses include running the British Superbike and GB3/GB4 single-seater championships. MSV is a private company owned by Jonathan and Sir Peter Ogden.
After a brief career as a doctor, Jonathan moved full time to pursue his race driving passion in 1981, when he won the British F3 title, and then two years later the European F2 championship. Six years of F1 followed, mainly with Tyrrell, together with a long career in world sportscar racing with Porsche, achieving several international wins and a second at Le Mans. On retiring from race driving in 1991 Jonathan focussed on his business ambitions, in particular founding PalmerSport, whilst also joining the BBC F1 commentary team for six years, partnering Murray Walker.
Jonathan's sons have forged their own successful careers. 2014 GP2 Champion Jolyon raced in F1 for Renault, and is now a successful F1 commentator and analyst. Younger brother Will was the 2015 BRDC F4 Champion and the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award winner in 2015.
LEADING THE WAY FOR NEARLY 30 YEARS
PalmerSport’s legendary reputation as the best driving event in the world has been established over nearly 30 years of constant development, evolution, and improvement. Founder Jonathan Palmer set out to create a high-speed day out that stood out from the crowd, with an exciting selection of cars, as diverse as they were fast, challenging, and enormously fun to drive.
Our ever-changing car roster has always had a strong core line-up of GT cars, off-road monsters, Caterhams, and Grand Prix-style single-seaters, but we have constantly tweaked the programme over the years to keep it fresh and exciting for new and repeat guests.
PalmerSport ran for much of its first decade at Bruntingthorpe, a former RAF base in Leicestershire – a major benefit of which was the lack of need for crowd safety measures. This meant that, from day one, we could encourage guests to push as hard as they dared in a wide open space.
PalmerSport’s hard-charging philosophy has been instrumental to its success and Jonathan Palmer meticulously designed Bedford Autodrome as its perfect home, with multiple challenging circuit layouts, top-class facilities, and an expanse of grassy run off. The event moved to Bedford full-time in 2002 and has thrived ever since.
Best in the Business
Countless world-class instructors have graced PalmerSport over the years, including Lewis Hamilton, whilst the current line-up includes BTCC racer James Gornall.
Still Going Strong!
With the most potent car line-up in its history, and a stunning home at Bedford Autodrome, PalmerSport shows no signs of slowing down!
SIMPLY THE BEST
Because of the stringent standards and qualifications required to be a PalmerSport instructor, just one in ten prove to be good enough to work with us.
Our instructors’ ability to establish a rapport with participants, and quickly understand their levels of experience and confidence, means guests soon feel at home behind the wheel and outperform their own expectations.
Every guest at PalmerSport is part of a team with its own leader, who will be there from start to finish to ensure the entire event runs like clockwork. Team leaders carefully explain every activity in detail, from timings to what you should wear, so you can relax and enjoy your day.
Maintaining a fleet of more than 100 vehicles to PalmerSport standards is a monumental task – every car has to be ready and capable to be driven to its limit all day, every day.
We own, operate and maintain all of our vehicles, ensuring that we provide our guests with products in peak condition, ready to be pushed to their extremes with total freedom. This is why we employ outstanding technicians, many with race team experience. And we don’t just change consumables like tyres and brake pads - our cars follow a rigorous schedule of maintenance where parts are routinely replaced regardless of condition, just as they are in the safety-dominated aircraft industry.
By applying such standards, we ensure that our cars are not only supremely reliable and safe, but as identical as they can be. Equality of vehicle performance is a vital component in the PalmerSport experience: if you win one of our trophies, you’ll know it’s because you were simply the fastest driver out there.